Wednesday, May 28, 2014

June 10th

Since it's been awhile since my last update, I wanted to enlighten everyone following Patrick's story about what is currently "on the plate" for the Shaws.  I spoke over the telephone with Emily about one week ago, and she told me what the current plan of action is for Patrick.

Last week, Patrick met with his new (due to moving) radiation oncologist.  Most of the information he received from this physician could be considered good news.  However, like most things cancer-related, it didn't come without risks and side effects.  The good news is, Patrick's radiation oncologist thinks that his "new" tumor is small enough to be adequately treated with ultra-high-dose targeted radiation to the point which he may not need any further surgery.  In essence, her treatment plan is for Patrick to undergo 5 (daily or every-other-day) intense radiation treatments to the tumor location, wait several months, repeat the PET scan, and {insert lots of prayer} hope that the tumor is gone and Patrick requires NO surgery in the end.  She believes there is an 80-85% chance that this plan will be fully successful.  Both Emily and Patrick are strongly leaning toward taking this "good chance" to avoid another surgery, but ask for your continued prayers for discernment.  

As previously mentioned, if Patrick chooses to proceed with this radiation-only approach, there are physical and fertility-related side effects as well as some dangers if he should fall in the 15-20% of the population in which radiation does not fully eradicate the tumor.  Should this happen, the radiation oncologist informed the Shaws that the less invasive surgery (in which Patrick's organs are NOT removed from his abdominal cavity) will no longer be an option due to tissue scarring from the radiation.  Instead, if the follow-up PET scan reveals any tumor activity, Patrick will have no choice other than the surgery to remove both his bladder and prostate.

As you can see, Emily and Patrick need your prayers.  My understanding is that final decisions and the beginning of the Shaw's chosen treatment plan will begin on June 10th.  Between now and then, please pray for wisdom, discernment, divine intervention, and the BEST POSSIBLE results regardless of which course the Shaws choose to take.  God is so much bigger than this tumor!

Monday, May 5, 2014


Patrick's appointment with the doctor at John's Hopkins went well last Friday.  They had a safe trip and were able to stay with friends on the way home.  However, this physician's opinion of appropriate treatment was SO radically different than Dr. Friel's, Patrick and Emily are requesting PRAYERS FOR DISCERNMENT specifically.

The John's Hopkins doctor feels he can remove the tumor in Patrick's lower abdominal cavity without removing either the bladder or the prostate.  He does, however, feel that Patrick will need rounds of IV chemotherapy post-op.  This is wonderful news in many ways.  However, it also poses a lot of new questions like:  why do the two docs have SUCH different opinions?  and will this approach invite the cancer to return?  Obviously, Patrick does NOT want to lose this prostate and bladder; however, he and Emily must also carefully consider which approach will be the BEST option to keep Patrick disease free in the future.  Dr. Friel believes the tissue surrounding the tumor (hence, the bladder and prostate) needs to be removed to be sure he gets "clear margins" and leaves behind no cancer cells with the potential to grow and spread.  Yet again, Patrick's quality of life remains a huge consideration for the Shaws.

At present, the Shaws await another telephone conference with the John's Hopkins doctor once he consults with a urologist over Patrick's MRI results.  Then, they wish to again discuss surgical approaches with Dr. Friel as he is more familiar with Patrick's entire journey and is closer to the Shaw's home.

Please pray for wisdom on the part of both physicians and DISCERNMENT for Patrick and Emily.  Also, please pray the God will provide the Shaws with support people (meals, finances, errand-running) when the time of either surgery arrives as they are currently transitioning into new jobs and a new hometown.

Thank you.